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My reflections on doing my first UX conference talk at the Mobile UX Conference 2021

Hi everyone! Welcome to my third blog post on my talk at the Mobile UX conference 2021. In this blog post, I will go through my experiences of how my talk went, the Q&A session and key takeaways from this experience.

I would like to start this post by saying a massive thank you to the Mobile UX team for letting me speak at the conference and for organising an amazing event. This was my first conference talk and being still new to UX, this was an exciting yet scary step for me and I appreciated the encouragement to be part of this event.

As for the conference itself, there were over 21 talks that took place from 22nd-26th March 2021 around the subjects of Ethics, the Future of UX and Health and Wellbeing. It was great to obtain multiple points of view from experts within the field, particularly for myself learning more about innovations made within the healthcare system.

My talk was on the second day within the category of “Ethics of UX”. It focused on the impact that Covid has had on the airline’s customer journey and how a more user-centred approach can help this industry going forward.

This was a project I did after I completed my Introduction to UX Design course with the UX Academy and I wanted to continue applying my learnings into an industry I knew well but is still pretty new to adopting UX principles.

I wanted my talk to give over an empathetic perspective to those who were looking to move over to UX but struggled to find ways to either expand their skills or learnings, by taking voluntary projects either in a work environment or industries they knew well.

The element of ethics within my talk was focused on the ethical changes required within the Airline industry post-pandemic, through implementing user research throughout parts of the customer journey to create more of a differentiation in product and service offerings. I also wanted to highlight the considerations required when doing a solo user research project, because Covid in the airline industry has been a sensitive topic and making sure the findings obtained from the project did not mislead the user going forward post-pandemic.

On the day, I did feel prepared and excited to be partaking in the event due to the video being pre-recorded. I thought because I had watched it through previously, I would feel confident enough to be able to watch and interact with the audience live during the play-back.

However, I have to confess what I didn’t expect the most difficult thing to do was to watch my video live in front of over 350 people worldwide! While I did a previous challenge in November 2020 to record myself for 30 days to get used to myself on camera, imposter syndrome hit me halfway through the live recording, of which I have been told it’s normal a first conference talk.

Straight after my talk, I was involved with a Q&A session with Raphaelle March from Cowry Consulting and Georgina Bouke and Jacob Ohrvik-Stott from ICO, moderated by Ágata Yamashiro from IBM. Agata did a great job moderating the session and it was an amazing experience to interact with the audience and listen to points around ethics in behavioural science and child-based user research projects. It was also great to hear from the audience about seeking advice for what learnings I wanted to share on solo projects and advice for applying for roles.

On a surprising note, I actually found out afterwards I had some special guests attend my talk — my mum and dad! For the past year, I have talked non-stop to them about UX, trying to give them some idea of what it’s all about and why I was passionate to learn more about this field as the next steps in my career. By seeing the talk, they said it was motivating for them to see how much I have grown within the past year and helped them to gain more of an insight into introducing to them about projects I have doing on the side. I was forever grateful for them attending and giving them a more visible representation of what UX is.

As well, after the talk and Q&A session, a couple of attendees reached out via Social Media to say that my talk inspired them my advice for doing voluntary projects and asked to know more about my story from Marketing to UX. It was incredibly encouraging to hear that my talk and story helped give people some inspiration to continue with their UX journey.

On reflection of this experience, I would encourage anyone who is new to UX or on the first steps within the field to do a conference talk. It’s a brilliant way to bring your own perspective to others about your introduction to UX and how taking on either side or passion projects can help to increase your presence within this field.

At first, I had some doubts about doing the talk as I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to listen to someone who is new compared to an experienced practitioner. However, I realised that this a field where all experiences need to be heard and any level of experience brings a perspective of invaluable learnings to all.

Originally published at https://www.samjayneburden.co.uk on March 28, 2021.

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